FEBRUARY 23: Cespedes’ stalemate with the media is over, it seems. He addressed his health situation with reporters (including Dicomo) this morning. Via interpreter, Cespedes says he’s “happy with the progress.” Asked if he could potentially be ready for Opening Day, the outfielder replied “if I continue progressing the way that I am, yes.” The hope is for Cespedes to start spring training game action by mid-March, relays Tim Healey of Newsday (via Twitter).
FEBRUARY 21: New Mets skipper Luis Rojas discussed his initial impressions of still-rehabbing outfielder Yoenis Cespedes at this stage of camp. As MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo reports, the veteran seems to be showing a fair bit of promise as he looks to return from injury — but he also still has a ways to go.
Per Rojas — Cespedes isn’t on speaking terms with the media at the moment — the 34-year-old is participating in about three-quarters to four-fifths of the activities of his healthy teammates. It’s a “progression” that Cespedes is working through with the team’s trainers.
The big question remains whether and when the former star will be able to contribute on the MLB field. That’s still unclear. He hasn’t yet fully tested his surgically repaired heels and ankle. But there’s progress, per Rojas, who says this “was a really big week” in Cespedes’s recovery.
It remains fascinating to watch this situation unfold. Cespedes has been a dynamic player for the Mets, when available. But he missed all of 2019 after being sidelined for large chunks of the preceding two seasons. And we haven’t seen his current form after weathering those major procedures and dealing with a high-profile dispute over how they occurred that cost him a huge chunk of his remaining guaranteed money.
Age is also a consideration, as Cespedes will turn 35 in October. Then there’s the question of how he’ll fit on the Mets roster and take to what’s likely to be less than a full-time role (at least unless or until he proves worthy of more).
It remains to be seen how this’ll proceed. But it’s certain that Rojas will be answering a lot of questions on Cespedes over the coming months — particularly if the outfielder declines to revisit his media silence. Ultimately, the rookie skipper and the front office may face some tough decisions.